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Biking vs. Driving

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Welcome!

 

Here you will find a variety of information regarding the environment and the reduction of pollution by making the conscious decision to bike instead of drive. Even if this may not be an option every day of the week, my hope is that you will take away some new information from this site and do with it what you will. Thanks!

           Although Henry Ford’s “Model T” wasn’t technically the first car to be built, his innovations and assembly line gave America its first vision of true freedom: the car. Suddenly, the horses were put out to pasture and entirely new American traditions were created based around the car. The phenomenon of drive-in movie theaters, road trips, and highways were seemingly better than apple pie and afternoon picnics. You weren’t an American unless you had a good old Ford parked in the driveway.

            But enough of that, lets get to now when you aren’t an American unless you have five Mercedes and a Cadillac parked in the ten car garage that was built in five weeks with the best of lumber that was once home to some of Oregon’s most beautiful wildlife. Lets get to now when the amount of cars are doubling ever five years in China and there has been a 75% increase of asthma amongst Americans and a 130% increase in children from birth to four years of age, which is in part is due to air pollution. Our air isn’t clean and people shrug about the ozone layer and skin cancer, but don’t put two and two together before hopping in their car to go work for corporate America.

             Although cars aren’t solely to blame, they do hold much of the responsibility considering “most ozone pollution is caused by motor vehicles, which account for 72% of nitrogen oxides and 52% of reactive hydrocarbons (principal components of smog).” (1) Although America has the DMV and laws that attempt to limit air pollution, many countries aren’t as fortunate and still use leaded gasoline, which “is a cumulative neurotoxin that impairs brain development among children and has been connected to elevated blood pressure and resulting hypertension, heart attacks, and premature death in adults.”(2) Even if one is lucky enough to escape these conditions and live in one of the “dirtier” cities of America, there life is expected to be cut short by at least two years because of the air pollution alone.

            If this doesn’t seem so bad, let’s take a look at what cars do to the environment. For every gallon of gas burned, one will emit twenty pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s like saying for every pound of food you eat, you’ll gain twenty pounds. The Worldwatch Institute is saying that "CO2 levels are now at their highest point in 160,000 years, and global temperatures at their highest since the Middle Ages." So what are the effects of Global Warming? “Rising sea levels, dying coral reefs, spreading of infectious diseases, and extreme weather conditions, including droughts, rare forest fires, historic floods, and severe storms.”

            The evidence of automobile destruction is overwhelming, and even if biking isn't an convenient for you all of the time, before you hop in the car to drive two blocks to the store, WALK OR RIDE YOUR BIKE. Take into account that automobile-related accidents  accounted for 42,800 lives in 2004 alone (3), while about a thousand people die a year from cycling accidents in America (4). Everything has its own risks, but not only are cars dangerous while you're riding in them, they're lethal even when you're not because it's not like the toxins evaporate in an instant. They creep into little children's lungs and ruin what could be a beautiful day. Is that what you really want? If so, drive on into the polluted horizon to see what America has in store for the future...

 

(1-2) http://bicycleuniverse.info/cars/pollutionpaper.html

(3) http://www.saferoads.org/press/press2005/pr_FARS4-21-05.htm

(4) http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/504612/

 

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Milwaukie High School
11300 SE 23rd Ave
Milwaukie, OR 97222
Ph: 503-353-5830
Fx: 503-353-5845

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When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.  ~H.G. Wells